"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, January 20, 2012

Before and After in the Pellie Bed

I spent yesterday afternoon raking leaves and pruning the Pellie bed. I wish I would have taken a closer picture of the plants to show what I have but if you would like to see them click Here (the lower photographs on that post will show the flowers in this bed)
On the left side of this photo is cannas and then just ahead is about 6 pelargonium plants, about 10 feet or so.  I pruned them severely this year because the fallen leaves had pretty much covered the lower half of the plants making it difficult to get in to clean around them, and many were just too large.  They can cover that area when blooming and it makes it difficult to get past them.  I took some cutting just in case I need to replace a few.  I want to transplant some of them back closer to the wall of the house to give them more room to expand without reaching the pavers. When I put these in a few years ago they were only 4 inch pots.
 Here is the area after I raked up the leaves and pruned the plants. You can see how I cut everything down to the ground level. We are forecast for rain for the next three days.  I will fertilize and mulch after the rains.  Looking at this photo I see I also need to plant in-between the pavers with more Dichondra seed.
Another view looking North
Lavender in bloom at end of paver path
Blue Flax in the Herb Garden
Rosemary Bush in Bloom
Here are all the leaves I raked up. The compost bin was half full when I started and it stands just under 5 feet. Notice the overflow on the side. After the rains come it should lower enough for me to put the rest in.  Lots of good compost in the near future!

The leaves had a wonderful frolic.
They danced to the wind's loud song.
They whirled, and they floated, and scampered.
They circled and flew along.

The moon saw the little leaves dancing.
Each looked like a small brown bird.
The man in the moon smiled and listened.
And this is the song he heard.

The North Wind is calling, is calling,
And we must whirl round and round,
And then, when our dancing is ended,
We'll make a warm quilt for the ground.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Birth Announcement! We Have Seedlings!

These little guys actually sprouted a few days ago but I just got around to taking a picture today.  So far we have Rainbow Blend Cherry Tomato, Yellow Crookneck squash, Patty Pan squash, Zucchini (Cocozelle), German Queen tomato, San Marzano tomato, Green Zebra tomato, Cherokee Purple tomato and Dr. Wyche's tomato.  These are all seeds I had from last year and some for more than 2 years.  Also a few are from seeds that I saved from my tomato plants that I grew last year.  Everything looks promising so far. We are off to a good start. Tomorrow I will begin planting up the seeds from my recent orders.

If the day and night are such
that you greet them with joy
and life emits a fragrance like flowers
and sweet scented herbs,
that is your success.
all nature is your congratulations.

-Henry David Thoreau-

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Seeds Are Here!

Botanical Interests
I received my two seed orders on Friday. I had just placed the order on Monday and I was surprised to see both orders in my mailbox.  If you click on my photos it will be enlarged and you will be able to read the names on the seed packages.

I know I don't have to tell all you gardeners out there how excited I get when my orders arrive, but just in case you are not a gardener and are reading my blog think of it like a long awaited Christmas gift or maybe a shopping spree at your favorite shoe or clothing store. That is how excited I get!

I read each package and then stare at the picture (if there is one) dreaming about the plant growing in my flower or vegetable garden.  I make notes on when I will plant it and where it will go. These are the first steps I take each year when planning my gardens. I envision the flower blooming in my "minds eye garden" and what plants will be planted around it.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (the Black Radish in the back is actually from Botanical Interests)
Tomorrow I will begin potting up the seeds. Some of these will be direct sowed in the garden when the planting time is right,  but all the tomato seeds will be started indoors and I will also pot up the Mexican Sunflower seeds.  We generally do not get freezing temperatures in our area and if we do it will only be a day or two so I will probably be planting many of the flower seeds and of course the radish seeds directly in the ground this week. If you check back on my past posts you will see that we are harvesting radishes, and a few other greens now.  I also will be making up my annual spreadsheet of the tomatoes I will plant and post it here when I get them planted out in the garden; that should be in mid March.

A nice rain has been falling all day today. I here my plants singing out....

Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Seed Catalog Order!!

I just love this time of year when all the seed catalogs arrive.  I spent last weekend visiting nurseries and browsing my seed catalogs.  I placed two orders, one from Botanical Interests and one from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

I ordered Southern Night, Chocolate Stripes, Gold Medal, Big White Pink Stripes, Henderson's Pink Ponderosa and Hillbilly tomatoes from Baker Creek, also a State Fair Mix Zinnia, Parisienne round Carrot and Orangeglo Watermelon.

From Botanical Interests I ordered, Organic Dill Heirloom seed, Round Black Spanish Heirloom Radish, French Breakfast Organic Heirloom Radish.  For tomatoes I ordered Black Krim Organic Heirloom, Cherokee Purple Organic Heirloom, and Green Zebra Organic.  I also ordered a Charentais Heirloom Melon, and Love in a Mist, Verbascum, Mexican Torch Sunflower flower seeds.
 I am still pondering on what to order or whether to order from Seeds from Italy. They are a bit more expensive. We'll see...
Carnival Bell Peppers, New Mexico Pepper, and Sweet Pepper Pimento and Tarragon cutting
 I spent yesterday potting up some seeds that I had and also some that I saved from last year. The Tarragon is from my plants.  I took a few cutting just in case I have problems in the next few months. I picked a bunch yesterday and have plans to make Tarragon Pesto today.
Back row: Jalapeno, yellow Crookneck Squash, Dr. Wyche's yellow tomato, San Marzano Tomato. Middle row: Patty Pan Squash, Cocozelle Squash, Cherokee Purple tomato, German Queen Tomato (rare).  Front row: Scallop White Bush squash, Rainbow Blend Cherry Tomato, Cherokee Purple Tomato, and Green Zebra Tomato.
I planted about 5 dozen spring onion sets and have all these that I will plant to replace those I pull.
Now we wait.....patiently.....

"Little January
Tapped at my door today.
And said, "Put on your winter wraps,
And come outdoors to play."
Little January
Is always full of fun;
Until the set of sun.
Little January
Will stay a month with me
And we will have such jolly times -
Just come along and see."

-  Winifred C. Marshall, January

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Garden Update Lots of Pictures!

Easter Egg Blend Radishes
It has been a couple of months since my last update.  After our battle with the raccoons and then replanting the beds three times, it took a while for the vegetable garden to produce. We have been harvesting lettuces, green onions, kale, pea pods and swiss chard the last few weeks.  I will post a lot of pictures to keep my blog up to date on the growth and varieties we planted. All the seeds I used in the garden are from Botanical Interest Seeds.
Bed One

Bed Two

Bed Three has Purple & White Vienna Blend Kohlrabi, American Purple Top Rutabaga, Sugar Snap Peas, and Spinach

Bright Lights Swiss Chard

Red Sails and Tango Leaf Lettuce, and a few Cilantro Plants

Easter Egg Blend Radishes (I picked some earlier)  and Gourmet Blend Beets.  Spring Onion Seeds I saved from last year. These I tossed around in all the beds.

Early Wonder Beets

Q's Special Medley Mesclun Lettuce

Oak Leaf Lettuce

Mache Corn Salad Greens

Kale Italian Lacinato (Nero Toscana)

Brussels Sprouts Long Island Improved Heirloom

these are just about ready to pick

start at the bottom and move upward when picking. The plant continues to grow taller and taller forming new sprouts at each leaf joint.
Kohlrabi Purple and White Vienna Blend

Kohlrabi Purple & White Vienna Blend

Sugar Snap Peas

I also planted Bok Choy and onion sets along with some garlic which I didn't get a picture of.  They are just coming in so I will update that later.

I purchased as many organic seeds from Botanical Interests as I could this year.  I think this spring I will add more seed from Baker Creek and Seeds of Change.  I have used Seeds of Change a few times now for my tomato seeds and have been very happy with them. But I do love Botanical Interest and will always buy the majority of my seeds from them.

We are off to a great start in the winter garden, now that the raccoons are gone. Oh, I forgot to mention; my neighbor caught 8 raccoons and relocated them somewhere.  So far I have not had any more damage to the beds.

I will continue to plant consecutively so we can harvest throughout the growing season, which will end for me around early May. I will need to use some of the beds for tomato plants as I generally get those in around March or April.  Last March we had a hail storm late in the month so I may hold off on the tomatoes until April this year; that will give me a couple more months of winter vegetable planting.

I have already started to pull tomato seeds to plant in pots that I had saved from some of my plants last year.  I will get those going this month.  I also need to get started on replanting the herb garden. I generally do this about every two years and put in some new plants to replace those that may have become overgrown or woody.  The marjoram is due this year. I may just move it as it has the most intoxicating aroma and I love to make wreaths out of the longer stems. Hang one on your garden gate; all those that enter will ask "what is that lovely smell?"

I will end with a couple photos of our Aloe plant that is in full bloom now.

These tower about 6 to 7 feet tall.

You may just get a fleeting glimpse
of golden wings or faint footprints
For gardens whether large or small
Are not quite what they seem at all.

Happy Gardening!